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Turf Toe and its Rehabilitation

What is turf toe?

The turf toe is a first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) articulation injury caused by hyperextension of the big toe, which damages the plantar capsuloligamentous complex. It has the potential to shred or end up damaging these structures.

Causes of turf toe:

  • It occurs due to overload on the hallux MTP joint in hyper-dorsiflexion, which occurs when one player falls on the heel of another player.
  • Excessive surface adhesion can produce an acute turf toe by causing the shoe to stick when the athlete’s bodyweight goes forward when attempting to stop quickly.
  • Regular jogging and hopping in shoes that are exceptionally flexible causes a chronicle condition.

Clinical features:

Pain is the primary symptom, followed by regional edema, ecchymosis, and joint stiffness.

Physiotherapy management of turf toe:

The primary goal of physiotherapy will be to increase the range of motion and reduce discomfort.

initial treatment intervention consists of Icing, Cryo-compression therapy, etc.

Taping using Kinesio tape in minor plantar flexion. It will limit mobility, preventing the toe from moving too far, and will also offer compression.

Range of motion exercises.

Mobilization of the proximal phalanx on the first metatarsal, to help restore normal ROM and strength.

More extensive therapy can begin only once symptoms such as pain and edema subside. However, the toe must be in protection by utilizing a turf toe plate or Morton’s extension orthotic.

In addition, therapeutic exercises such as-

  • toe crunches,
  • curling up a towel with the toe,
  • moving the toe in a bucket of sand and short foot exercises.

Therapeutic modalities such as-

  • Combotherapy,
  • pulsed ultrasound or iontophoresis is applied to manage inflammation and assist in the healing of the soft tissues.

As the athlete progress, he or she might proceed to higher-impact exercises such as-

  • jogging,
  • running,
  • Also, cutting and jumping.

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